Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It's Christmas Time

Can you believe it? Christmas starts tomorrow. Okay. So technically Christmas is on the 25th and that's three weeks away. What? THREE WEEKS?!! I'd better get busy!

But seriously, I really wanted to be on the ball this year and have a cute advent Calendar to use right from the beginning of the month. So I actually finished the one I made last year at a church activity. I'm so excited to start it tomorrow!

My Mom had this fantastic advent calendar which she made out of burlap and felt. It had pockets and every day it was so exciting to see what was in the pocket. For the first part of the month, there was a tiny ornament which would then be pinned to the felt tree, and for the last part of the month, there were felt figures for the nativity scene, which was beside the tree. And on the last day there was a tiny baby Jesus to put in the manger. Everyone always fought over who would be the one to do the baby Jesus. We'd usually go in order of oldest to youngest or the other way around, and since there are 5 of us, the oldest or the youngest would be the one to get the baby Jesus. But it wasn't always about the ornament or the Nativity scene figure. My Mom would also include a little paper on which she had written an activity that we were all to do that day. It could be as simple as "Read a Christmas story" to more complex, such as Decorate the tree (Or go cut down the tree!).

I wanted to follow in this tradition for my family. And since Otto is now at the age where we can "do" more, I really wanted it to begin this year. So, I downloaded these Advent Boxes of Ali Edwards for Designer Digitals to write our daily activity. On their own, they are about 2 1/2" square, so I copied them all into a PSE file to shrink them down so they fit perfectly in these little boxes.

I decorated the inside square of the advent calendar in such a way that every year, our current Christmas card will fit there.

I have been busy making things for Christmas which I'd like to share here, but not until after Christmas after everyone has opened their gifts! Wouldn't want to spoil the surprise!

How are you preparing?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Back in Shape

Okay, so I've dropped off the blog world as of late. I'm trying to get back into life, but I'm finding myself very lazy. Okay, maybe not lazy because I've actually been doing a lot. I think it's more a case of prioritizing and the fact that I am terrible at it. So this is one thing I've been getting good at:

Awhile ago, a friend suggested to me that I wasn't working hard enough to get into shape. Working hard enough? Try NOT working at all! So, I decided to commit. I can now proudly say that I have completed three weeks of working out 5 times a week. Not to say that it's been easy, or that I actually feel good about my body, but I've been doing it. In complete and honest disclosure, I must say that after having babies, it's disconcerting to have a different body to work with than the one I was used to for roughly 15 or so years. The real issue for me is the diastasis recti that I now have after two babies stretching my belly so far it ripped! [LOVE my babies, but hate the bodily result].

SO. NOT going to win any body contests. Now. or. Ever. But, I'm getting back in shape. What shape that will be we will see!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Introducing Atlas Bao Court

Atlas Bao
June 20, 2011
8 pounds 10 ounces

We are all home and on the mend, enjoying the
first moments of these sweet cheeks and soft toes.
{Bao pronounced Bay-O, comes from Baobab Tree}

Friday, April 15, 2011

Best Shopping Day Ever!

I live just outside of a big city, so when I need to go into the city, I plan my day carefully so that I will be able to stop at all the places I need to in the most timely and efficient manner possible. It's a bummer when a store does not have what I need or want - doesn't have it in stock, doesn't have my size, the right color, etc. This usually means that I will need to stop there on another trip into the city.. a week or a month from now! Such a pain!

But not this week! This week when I went into the city, my day went exactly as planned with extra fun surprises! Let me tell you about it.

I started the day by phoning my parents to see if they needed me to get anything for them while I was in the city - sometimes they do. But they didn't need anything, and my Mom offered to take Otto for the day so that I could be faster in getting things done! Lovely! My parents are so good! So instead of having to get in and out of the van all day, Otto got a fun day with his grandparents (and did they ever have fun - a walk to the the playground, slides, swings, and trike rides down the driveway)! I also didn't have to worry about all the snacks and stopping for eating and all that. Nice.

Stop #1: Aldo Outlet. I went in for a specific pair of shoes in a specific color. Sadly, they did not have my size. But, awesome thing #1 of the day, I tried my size on in a different color, and instead of saying, "Sorry, we don't have your size, you'll have to try another store," the saleslady told me that I could purchase the ones I wanted in my size and they would send me the shoes to my door and they'd pay the shipping! Wow! That made my morning!

Stop #2: Winners. I love to stop at Winners and browse. Sometimes you find something good, sometimes you don't. Today, I found something wonderful! I found a cool green tin can and this beautiful bird cage jewelry holder. The door even opens to store bracelets and other things in the inside! Lovely!

Stop #3: Winners. Yep, I stopped in at another Winners. I just can't help myself! It happened to be in the same complex as the next two stores I would stop at. So every time I've gone to Winners in the past two and a half years, I browse through the handbags to see if I can find a suitable bag that would be fashionable, yet have enough room for all my purse items plus diaper and snack items for Otto. And maybe a toy or book for Otto too. And it would be really nice if this bag were green. Anyway, after over two years of searching, I found the perfect one! I couldn't believe it!

Stop #4: Dollar Giant. Gotta love the dollar stores. The last time I went to this same store, I bought a few microfiber cloths that I discovered I love as my dish rags. I wanted a few more. Guess how many they happened to have left! Yep, a few more! Cha-ching!

Stop #5: My Sewing Room. Picked up a pair of free motion quilting gloves. I wasn't even sure they still carried them, as the ones I had borrowed from a friend were bought awhile ago. Nice.

Stop #6: Fabricland. I am trying to put together a quilt for our master bedroom. I got all the fabric (with several trips) and cut out all the pieces, but I wasn't satisfied with one of the patterns. It matched some of the fabrics, but really didn't match the other fabrics. So I really hoped to be able to find something suitable. I didn't have high hopes because I'd already searched for these colors and thought I'd found everything they had. But I was wrong! I found the perfect fabric and it will look wonderful with all the other fabrics! WOW!

Stop #7: Staples. I wasn't really planning on stopping here, but at the last minute I turned in, thinking that maybe they'd have what I'd been looking for in another Staples, but didn't find. I figured that they might have something because this Staples was in a busier center. And did I find what I wanted? Yes, I sure did! (some white tags for scrapbooking)

Stop #8: The Distribution Center. Okay, so maybe this is indulging too much information, but I really needed a few more pairs of maternity unmentionables and guess how many they had left of my size in stock? The same number that I needed! Nice Nice.

Stop #9: IKEA. I wanted to get a few different sized frames to start getting things ready for my new business venture (more on that soon). And I also picked up a stool for Otto (side note: Otto has thee cutest way of pronouncing any word with an "L" in it, and "stool" is one of our personal favorites recently). I rushed through IKEA, knowing exactly what I wanted to get, but I happened to look in one area I don't usually look in and found the perfect shelving unit for my furnace/laundry room, which I'd been on the lookout for for the past several months! And at $14.99, it was such a great deal! Cha-ching!

Stop #10: Superstore. Kinda boring here, but I got all the things I wanted, including some organic face products which sometimes are not in stock here, and I finally remembered to pick up some finger paints for Otto (which we used yesterday and which he loved so much)!

So a total of 10 stops in the city, and I was able to get what I wanted and more from each stop! That is unheard of! So there you have it, a perfect day of shopping and errands! I was so happy as I drove home, I just couldn't believe my good luck!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Circles Baby Quilt

I LOVE this quilt. Don't get me wrong, there are tonnes of mistakes, as this is my first attempt at free-motion quilting, but I think it turned out all-right in the end. As we don't know the sex of this next baby, the colors are pretty generic, and perfect for us.

As for free-motion quilting - it sounds like a fun and fanciful free type of quilting, doesn't it? You can make whatever shape you want! You can go out of the lines! But OH! How difficult it really is! It is tiring on the muscles, and it is SO hard to get uniform stitches! But I do love that I can do circles and go anywhere with the stitches. {Just don't look too closely!} The special gloves {on loan from a dear friend} were a great help.

Here's a close-up of the backing. I used a soft minky, which will be perfect for babe.

I did a bit of a practice run first with this wee tag blanket. My favorite is the rick-rack around the edge.

I found and fell in love with the pattern on Cluck Cluck Sew blog. I changed the measurements to suite my project and my liking, but her tutorial was a fantastic guide!

Family Laundry Line

I am SO excited that this project turned out! This is my Family Laundry Line fabric artwork. I've had this idea {and many other stitched artwork ideas} floating around in my brain for some time and wondering if I might make these to order.... I must admit that I thought I might be an original or very near original by making the laundry line into a fabric project, but sadly, my idea was found {almost exactly} on the front of this book! *gasp* Oh well. I actually bought this book and it is a fantastic resource for many of the stitching/fabric projects I have in mind! I must give credit where credit is due and tell you that some inspiration for a laundry line came from here and here. And I couldn't have done it without a dear friend's generous donation of her itty bitty fabric scraps {and some not so itty bitty}!

Update: Now you can order your very own! Visit my Facebook Page at

Monday, April 4, 2011

All Bundled Up

Here is a recent LO I've done. It was super quick and super easy. My favorite part (besides the ridiculously adorable picture of Otto) are the Stampin' Up felt snowflakes and the white foam letter stickers. Would you believe that these stickers come from the dollar store?! I LOVE the white ones because I can dress them up with a muted stamp so they aren't so stark!

Hoppy for you!

Two weeks ago I had 6 of my students perform in the music festival in our town. It is a great opportunity to learn and grow in their performance skills. I am happy to say that they all did very well! One student was also chosen to win an adjudicator's award at the showcase last week. Way to go, students!

I made these treat boxes to let them know I am so proud of them. I recently bought this die (a mini milk carton) from Stampin' Up and I have used it so much already! Just change the colors and stamped sentiment and you've got the perfect little token of appreciation, good luck, love, happy birthday, congratulations, thank you, or happy holiday (insert Christmas, Easter, Valentine's, Halloween, St. Patrick's Day). LOVE it!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Otto's First Year Mini

It's about time I posted this album! This is one of my favorite minis I've made so far. Did I say that about the summer one? Well, one of the reasons why this one was a favorite is because it was actually quite simple. The bare bones of it and the fact that certain elements and techniques were carried throughout made a lot of it much easier to put together. Here's how I did it:
  • I started with pre-purchased envelopes which were something like 5" x 11". I cut the long side down to 7" to accommodate my 5x7 photos. I punched a slit through one side only to make the tabs (which would be used on the inserts) visible.
  • In Photoshop, I added the month and the number of months old Otto was in each picture, and lowered the opacity.
  • I printed Otto's accomplishments for each month on white cardstock and left room to add extra pictures. On the back of the cardstock, I wrote which number month it was.
  • On the right sides of the pages, I adhered my 5x7 photos. On the left side, I used up to three 2x3 photos, a Making Memories premade journaling spot with the numbered month in white, a strip of border punched paper, and a simple embellishment. I stiched around each left-side page before adhering it in the album.
  • I used 7 different patterned papers throughout, using each only once or twice, and using extra for the strips of border punched paper. I used strips of these papers for the front and back cover as well.
  • I bound it using my Cinch (which I am in love with, btw!) and added some ribbon.
So here is 0-12 of Otto's first year!
Remember, you can click on any one image to see it larger.

Friday, March 4, 2011

I Love You LO

I finally put this one together. It's been in my mind's eye for quite some time, but I wanted it to be perfect, and now's the time. Journaling reads: "How excited we were to catch our first glimpse of our 1st baby. And how tickled we were when our little one gave us that special sign we are so familiar with - "I love you". Well, little one, we love you too."

And an update with my one little word: I've been taking Ali's class and I've really enjoyed the prompts and the way she has encouraged us to keep our word in mind. I've really been trying to "focus" on focusing on the important things. One thing I've really found that has improved is my goal of not procrastinating the thoughts and ideas in my head. If I know that I should do it, I have been doing it. This goes for crafty things, like the baby quilt I've been working on, and beginning to cut the master bed quilt I have in mind, scrapbook layouts and mini albums, for physical things I have been putting off for too long: EXERCISE!, and just plain old upkeep: doing the dishes right away. I even followed my thought pattern last week and made cookies (I haven't made cookies since Christmas time!) I am feeling good about my goals and my one little word!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Summer Mini

I recently went on a crop and got most of this summer mini done. Then, I was very sick (and quite out of it) for a week, and on some heavy pain killers. I'm feeling better now, and I'm slowly regaining more energy daily. So, I was finally able to finish this and now able to show you!

This started out as an altered book. My good friend Birdie, who is a wonderful print artist, made this beautiful book and gave it to us at Otto's baby shower. And since then, I've been wondering what wonderful things I could put in it! I wanted it to be for family pictures or solely for Otto pictures.

The problem was that it was a very long accordion book and I knew that the moment I showed it to Otto and let him touch and look at it, it would get ripped quite easily (as evidenced by the stack of books I recently had to glue or tape). So I stewed over this for some time.

I finally came up with a solution I got so excited about! I asked Andy to drill two holes in the side so that I could attach some “o” rings. This way, I could make the accordion pages into pockets into which I could include more pictures and stories (it was, after all, a packed summer!).

Journaling reads: "I'm celebrating summer. Spending my days with a fun little man. Celebrating what makes him happy this first summer of discovery."

I added pictures and embellishments and included many spaces for pockets – behind pictures to allow for longer journaling for our stories (I used Ali Edwards journal overlays), and in the page pockets for extra pictures. I added ribbons and round metal tags for the pulls.

This has been one of my favorite mini books to work on. Thanks Birdie for the beautiful album!

p.s. I made a great mini album for Otto’s first year, which I’ve neglected to post here, so perhaps I will show you that next week! Also in the works: a new baby quilt! So exciting!